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September 16, 2004

September 6, 2004 - PB

August 26, 2004

July 25, 2004

July 11, 2004 - PB

July 5, 2004

June 3, 2004

May 16, 2004

May 1, 2004 - PB

April 25, 2004

April 4, 2004

March 23, 2004 - PB

March 18, 2004

February 26, 2004

February 03, 2004 -PB

January 27, 2004

January 15, 2004

December 28, 2003

December 6, 2003

November 14, 2003

October 22, 2003

October 6, 2003

September 26, 2003


Check out our Gift Center! Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on 12-6-03.

Hello readers!

16 reviews were posted at during the week and they are as follows:

LAST ORDERS by Graham Swift
Reviewed by Wenkai Tay

Our reviewer, Mr. Tay, lives overseas and is using the local library as his source for review material, thus his book choices are not necessarily going to be the most recently released but those he's had on his TBR list for awhile. Each update we hope to include one of his reviews. LAST ORDERS won the 1996 Booker Prize and is about four male friends who ponder mortality as they carry out their friend's orders to be buried at sea.

Reviewed by Mary Whipple

This is an extraordinary love story that takes place during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda - by one of French Canada's most admired journalists. With profound compassion and skill, Gil Courtemanche tells a story of love against all odds set amid one of the most horrific--and overlooked--chapters in recent history.

Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

This a moving and haunting novel about two lovers in Tel Aviv in 1970s, told from the perspective of Lilly who is revisiting her past, by starting her story with "a long time ago, when I was twenty, I was involved with a man who was an interrogator." This novel provides insight into the Israeli state and culture.

WAR TORN by John Marks
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

I hadn't realized until pulling this newsletter together that we have a common thread running in this month's reading. This is another story of love in a hostile setting. This one involves a love affair between an American journalist and married woman from former Yugoslavia. The author considers the subject of divided cities and the damaging effects on the people who live in them.

THE MOVIES OF MY LIFE by Alberto Fuguet
Reviewed by Poornima Apte

Fuguet is one of the authors in the new Latin American literary movement known as McOndo, which claims the end of Magical Realism. That may be, but it does not take away from this incredibly creative plot which centers around a list of 50 movies used to explore a lonely childhood. Take it from Poornima, one doesn't have to be a movie buff to enjoy it.

GARBO LAUGHS by Elizabeth Hay
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Movies play a center role in this book also. Set in Ottawa in the 1990s, it is the quixotic tale of tall, thin Harriet Browning, inflamed by the movies she was deprived of as a child. Bent on seeing everything she has missed, she rapidly becomes so saturated with old movies, seen repeatedly and swallowed whole, that she no longer fits into this world. Until the lives of her family are thrown in an uproar after receiving a letter.

THE WAY THE CROW FLIES by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

This epic novel set in the early sixties, is the story of the McCarthy family who are newly posted at a quiet Canadian air force base near the American border. This is a time of optimism with the space race, but it is overshadowed the Cold War. This rich novel does much but especially provides an insight into how it is for Canadians to have America as a neighbor. From the author of Fall on My Knees.

Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

This is a fictionalize account of the 1970s Patty Hearst kidnapping with the focus being on Jenny Shimada, a Japanese American who harbors this famous fugitive. Our reviewer says this book reads like a Pulitzer Prize winner.

OLD SCHOOL by Tobias Wolff
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

In this homage to literature, the literary life, and the power of literature to influence a reader's life, Tobias Wolff focuses his attention on a small New England prep school in 1962, a school in which students live and breathe "the writing life."

BABYVILLE by Jane Green
Reviewed by Kam Aures

Jane Green has been one of the most popular of the Brit-Chick writers, but as she herself says, it's hard to continue writing about a single woman, when she herself is now (happily) married and a mother. So here's her new welcome (and maturing ) contribution to the Chick lit genre.

MONEY FOR NOTHING by Donald E. Westlake
Reviewed by Hagen Baye

Josh has been receiving a $1,000 a month from the "United States Agent" for years -- money for nothing as far as he could tell. Until the day he's told that he is "activated" and now he's got to survive this fiasco. If you are already a fan of the prolific Donald Westlake, then you know what to expect (or not) in this book and he delivers. Another great caper novel.

MOIST by Mark Haskell Smith
Reviewed by Chuck Barksdale

Fans of Elmore Leonard are very likely to enjoy this humorous debut novel in which a laboratory technician gets mixed up with the mafia over an amputated arm with a tattoo of woman, that he falls in love with, on it. Though be forewarned, it's a bit explicit in the sex and language department.

DEATH'S JEST-BOOK by Reginald Hill
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

This is the latest in a long running series featuring Yorkshire, England's Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel and Inspector Peter Pascal. Intricately plotted and deft wordplay.

Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

This is an author that we wish a large publishing company would discover. As far as writing a story set in Bangkok, he writes the real thing having lived in Asia for the last 20 years. And he does put together a good mystery. In this one, an ex-CIA agent, now scuba dive teacher, and living in an apartment over a Bangkok bar, turns to investigating a murder of a woman he meets in that bar -- and his girlfriend may be the prime suspect.

THE BREATHTAKER by Alice Blanchard
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Coming up with a new murder serial gets harder and harder with all the people writing in this genre. Ms. Blanchard has come up with a most unique scenario -- what if all the people who die in tornado do so not as a result of Mother Nature, but from the act of a serial killer who knows how to read weather?

Reviewed by Kam Aures

Want a "read-into-the-wee-hours" thriller? Here's one that Kam highly recommends. Three women are being impossibly terrorized by a serial killer who was put to death five years earlier. Lots of twists, shocks and just entertaining. The author begin this novel with the notion of what it must be like to be the girlfriend of a convicted serial killer.


As you might have noticed, each of's reviewers has a distinct preference in books that he or she enjoys reading. As such, I thought it would be fun to list this year's top picks by each reviewer's choice rather than to lump them together in one big list as I did last year.

To see what's on our lists, go here! You'll find that some of the books in this newsletter are on the list.


I sent notification out this week to all the winners of the NOVEMBER raffles -- I'll send these books as soon as I hear back from the winners. Thanks everyone for taking the time to enter.

There will be no raffles for December. I just plain ran out of time. Sorry! I hope to resume the raffles in early January.

Last year I put together some pages with suggestions for shopping, but then last year I was unemployed (except for the 3-week stint at the post office) and had time for that. This year, I haven't even made time to put my own list together yet! But if you want to see what I had posted for ideas last year -- feel free to visit these pages. As I do need to do my online shopping today, I might update them.

Judi Clark

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